Brown Releases Revised Budget


On May 11, Governor Jerry Brown released his revised 2017-2018 state budget proposal. The proposal closely mirrored his January plan, but did included: increases spending for K-12 schools, provides increase funding for counties to ease changes in the funding for In-home Supportive Services, restores funding for a childcare package, calls for increased funding for a new transportation package for road and bridge repairs as well as transportation projects, increases supplemental payments to CalPERS for state and government worker pension fund, and increases the state attorney generals’ budget, allowing for the office to hire additional workers to deal with an increased number of lawsuits over proposed federal cuts to California.

However, the revised budget plan makes no changes in the Governor’s allocation $1.2 billion in tobacco tax revenues to cover general fund responsibilities in the Medi-Cal program. Instead of using the money to improve access to care for the more than 14 million Californians served by Medi-Cal – as intended by the voters of California – the revised budget proposal uses the tax funds to backfill a cut to the state’s general fund contribution to the Medi-Cal program.

Last year, CPMA co-sponsored Prop 56 with the intent of saving lives and limbs put at risk by tobacco products and improving the access to quality medical care and services for all Californians – especially those most vulnerable, who rely on Medi-Cal for health care. The language in Prop. 56 was crystal clear, which was that the funds designated for Medi-Cal were to be used to increase funding “by providing improved payments” for treatment and services. Californians voted overwhelming in support of improving payments to providers to help ensure that patients can see a doctor in a timely manner, and not have to wait until conditions become cronic requiring critical care. So, while the governor’s budget allocates funds allocates funds to increase general fund spending for Medi-Cal, it does not increase reimbursement rates.

California is amongst the lowest Medicade provider reimbursement rates in the nation.